Category Archives: What I’ve Been Reading

Music Break : If You Really Love Nothing (Reimagined by Pêtr Aleksänder)


I got home from school drop off and came to my computer, like I do every morning after drop off, and opened Spotify. Looking for something different to listen to, I clicked on the Release Radar mix. The first song I heard was this and I felt it was just the perfect song for this morning.

I’ve been reading a book called Road Ends by Mary Lawson. It’s about a family who lives in northern Ontario, set in the late 1960s, and the struggles they deal with from their past and present. The mother locks herself in her room with her newborn and slowly fades away, completely obliviously to the rest of the family, the father lives a life of regret and fails to step up to his role as father, and the kids, well, the kids are surviving the best they know how. About 15 pages from the end I put the book down and I cleaned up all the toys on the floor I’ve been ignoring, put away all the drawings my kids have 1/2 finished that just sit around the house, I put away clothes on the floor that I pretend aren’t there and threw out a banana peel from under the coffee table that looked like I caught it just in time. Life can get away from you. I get it but I don’t want that. I want to step up. My kids deserve to be kids and I should be there to support them and show them how to love even when things aren’t going our way. Gosh, books, I love them. I love music, too. Now it’s time to draw!

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What I’ve Been Reading : The Year of Living Biblically

This was an Accidental Book Club requested reading and I just so happened to have it on my bookshelf. My friend Marie dropped the book off years ago and I just never picked it up. The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs, a type of immersion journalism, ended up being a very interesting read. Through the book he tries to live his life to the literal laws of the bible. There are hundreds of laws, too many for one year and only a fraction of them can actually be attempted in this day and age…although that doesn’t stop him from trying to stone an adulterer or preform an animal sacrifice. Jacobs then decides to tackle one at a time, as well as a combination of about twenty easier rules and laws for every day. The “easier” ones include prayer, being honest, honouring the sabbath, not killing anyone, honouring your mother and father etc. He also follows a handful of Hassidic Jewish laws, such as no mixed fibres, you cannot cut or even trim your beard or the hair on the sides of your head, tithing and he cannot touch women because they could be menstruating or sit in a place where woman who menstruate may have sat.

AJ also visits other religious communities. He takes a few road trips to Amish, Creationists, Jehovah Witness, Red-Letter Christians and many more religious groups. He tries his best to go in with an open mind but in the end he admits he has his limits. He does note that most sects end up following the rules and laws that suit their needs and wants…or possible translations of ancient scriptures. SO interesting!

As he lives this literal biblical life he makes a few revelations about prayer, choices, being thankful, showing kindness to strangers and other honourable ways of living. I love how he questions whether having choices in our lives is helping us to live a good life. When a religion supplies a set of laws, you don’t have to think so much about what you need to do or how you need to live your life.

AJ Jacobs wrote a good book. I probably won’t read it again but I enjoyed the laughs and his points of view and he is most certainly a talented wordsmith.

The Traveller By Brina Schenk (PG. 1-5)

The Traveller, an illustrated story at Wapiti Music Festivalthetraveller_digital2thetraveller_digital3thetraveller_digital4thetraveller_digital5

to be continued

What I’ve Been Reading : The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Book I've Read - The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksWow. What a book. This one had me from page one. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks and the immortal cancer cells that were taken from her body, and how they took over the world.

This book is about much more than just some cells that won’t die. It’s about how the Lack family (a poor, uneducated black family from a tobacco farm) felt when they found out Henrietta’s cells were still alive and making some people very rich.

Ah! But the book is also about who has rights to cells once they’ve been taken from a body, whether that body is dead or alive. It’s a very interesting question that I would never have thought about otherwise. I had a mole removed a few years ago, do I have any rights to that sample once it leaves my body?

The author does an astounding job of showing as many sides of the story as she can. The doctors, the Lacks family and friends, the scientists, the people cured from various diseases thanks to HeLa cells, the journalists and the hospital where Henrietta Lacks went for cancer treatment and died.

Read it. You won’t regret it.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being a novel by Ruth OzekiI just finished A Tale for the Time Being this morning. A book I borrowed from a fellow Accidental Book Club member (Thanks, Courtney). It’s been a while since I’ve read something that got me thinking and wondering about quantum physics. Are we living multiple lives right now? We have infinite alternate realities? Could there really be 4 billion moments in every day?

This book started off really slow. A women finds a diary from a girl in Japan along the coast of a remote BC island in a ziplock bag and starts reading it. This woman, let’s call her Ruth because that’s what her name is, starts getting involved in the writer’s life and seems to feel responsible for her. In a strange way, they become friends without knowing each other.

It took me over a month to read this book. It wasn’t until I got to the last 100 pages when I really began wanting to know more and actually caring about what happens. I’m amazed I finished it at all, to tell you the truth. I have other actual book club books I should be reading. But I’m glad I got through it.

Often times I am in a moment in my own life when I know I need to do something but I haven’t and then I read a book that engages my brain and gives it a little kick. I think that’s precisely what happens to Ruth in the book as well.

In the end, I can say I did like it. I liked it a lot. It felt a little like homework at times but in the end I feel fresh and ready…for something.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : Lost & Found By Brooke Davis

Novel - Lost and Found by Brooke DavisLost & Found by Brooke Davis was picked up at the Fernie Heritage Library because other books I wanted weren’t in…and as I scanned the New Releases section, this one stood out. I was looking for something light and friendly and what I found was something a little twisted and odd. A little girl, around the age of 7, was abandoned at a department store by her mother (that’s incredibly sad!) only to be discovered and helped by a couple of senior citizens.

What I love about this book is how the two elders were written. One was an 82 year old shut in who only left her house after years and years to begrudgingly help the little girl. The other, an 87 year old man who escaped a nursing home to finally begin living. These two were my favorites. They were quirky and lived a life the way they wanted to live it and didn’t care too much about anyone or anything else. Now in their eighties, they have discovered that they aren’t useless and still want adventure in their lives…and can still love, find new friends and be someone you can count on.

I think about my Oma, who is in a nursing home and sits in front of her tv all day and night. She doesn’t do much unless the nurses force her out of her room for some fun (“fun” being playing bingo or doing a puzzle). How excited would I be if I found out my Grandmama has ditched the place and can’t be found? Very excited…although, I hope she brings a sweater.

I enjoyed this book and I’m excited to get old and start a new adventure when I’m in my 80s.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : Abide With me By Elizabeth Strout

Abide With me - Book I'm Reading - Small Town SocialAbide with Me by Elizabeth Strout was borrowed from the Fernie Heritage Library as a filler because the books I requested  were out. I had typed Elizabeth Strout’s name in my ‘book’ notes on my phone but it wasn’t the exact novel recommended but I thought I’d give this one a try. Abide With Me is mostly about a family, the father being a minister, living in a small town in America and surviving and dealing with loss.

The book doesn’t show much positivity or too much activity either but there is a beautiful look at how a family deals with tragedy – and even the community around them. Strout gives all sorts of perspectives in this town – teachers, patronages, family, friends, house keepers etc. What the people around the family observes and what they expect from them is so harsh. If I ever talk to anyone that is grieving, I hope I am patient, loving and kind and never push them to move on or be happy.

I’m interested in reading another book by Elizabeth Strout – I hear Olive Kitterage is great…but after this book of sadness, I’m not sure I’m ready for it just yet.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.